Agenda and draft minutes

Council - Thursday, 14 July 2022 6.00 pm

Venue: 135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, OX14 4SB

Contact: Steven Corrigan  Democratic Services Manager

Items
No. Item

15.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 651 KB

To adopt and sign as a correct record the Council minutes of the annual meeting held on 19 May 2022. 

Minutes:

RESOLVED: to approve the minutes of the annual meeting of Council held on 19 May 2022 as a correct record and agree that the Chair sign them as such.

 

16.

Declarations of interest

To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests, other registrable interests and non-registrable interests or any conflicts of interest in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting. 

 

Minutes:

None.

17.

Urgent business and chair's announcements

To receive notification of any matters which the chair determines should be considered as urgent business and the special circumstances which have made the matters urgent, and to receive any announcements from the chair. 

Minutes:

The Chair provided general housekeeping advice. The Chair provided details of the events he had attended since the last meeting of Council.

 

18.

Public participation

To receive any questions or statements from members of the public that have registered to speak. 

Minutes:

One member of the public had registered to ask a question.

 

Steven Corrigan, Democratic Services Manager, read out the following question on behalf of Julia Benning, Need not Greed Oxfordshire:

 

“Need not Greed Oxfordshire (NNGO) understands that the Oxfordshire Councils are currently involved in discussions around the level of housing to be included in the next draft of the Oxfordshire Plan 2050. 

 

There are a staggering 85,000 dwellings already committed to in existing local plans.  The number of additional dwellings which might be included in the Oxfordshire Plan range from 16,000 to 67,000 (as per the Reg 18 consultation).  

 

Need Not Greed believes that no more than the lowest number of additional dwellings should be built, and possibly many less.  Anything else would be incompatible with this local authority’s commitment to tackling the climate emergency and the need to address nature’s recovery.

 

We are concerned that Local Authorities might regard the middle housing trajectory, which is inappropriately called ‘Business as Usual’, as a reasonable compromise between the highest and lowest housing targets.  In fact, it is based on a period of high growth following recession and as such it is clearly not ‘Business as Usual’ and should in no way be regarded as 'middle ground'. 

 

We would like to know this Council's views on:

1.  The ‘Business as Usual’ trajectory

2.  The number of dwellings that should be built in Oxfordshire in the period to 2050.”

 

Councillor Simpson, Cabinet member for planning, responded as follows:

 

“I understand and share concerns about the high level of additional homes that were committed to by the previous administration under the terms of the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal. I and officers are working with our partner councils in Oxfordshire to identify and agree an appropriate evidence base for the Oxfordshire Plan which will run to 2050. The Oxfordshire Growth Needs Assessment (OGNA) was published in 2020, and provides analysis of three broad housing need scenarios for the Councils, which may be appropriate for Council to consider as a starting point for the identifying a housing target for the new plan.   The Council is aware that other evidence and models of housing need exist.

 

These scenarios were an application of: (1) the government’s “standard method” for assessing housing need; (2) a “business as usual” scenario that sought to project forward past growth trends; and then (3) a “transformational growth” scenario that sought to deliver the aspirations of the Oxfordshire Local Industrial Strategy. South Oxfordshire District Council is continuing to work with its partners to determine which of these is an appropriate housing need calculation method on which to base the 2050 plan. This process is still ongoing, and we cannot state which of these scenarios will be chosen at this stage.

 

However, the Council is aware of the potential tensions between higher levels of housing growth, the current and most likely future economic environment and its commitments to address the climate and ecological crises. As a Council, we have yet to come to a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

Petitions

To receive any petitions from the public. 

Minutes:

None.

20.

Community Governance Review - related alteration order

The Community Governance and Electoral Issues Committee is currently undertaking a community governance review and will be making final decisions on a number of community governance reviews at its meeting on 8 September 2022. The committee could agree changes to parish boundaries which would impact on district ward and county division boundaries. To make district ward and county divisions coterminous with any parish changes Council is invited to authorise the head of legal and democratic to request the Local Government Boundary Commission for England to make related alteration orders to alter both the district wards and county division boundaries. Any such requests must be submitted by 1 October, prior to the next Council meeting, to ensure any changes are implemented for the May 2023 elections.

 

 

RECOMMENDATION: to authorise the head of legal and democratic to request the Local Government Boundary Commission for England to make related alteration orders to change district wards and county divisions to reflect the changes made to parish boundaries arising from the current community governance review.

 

Minutes:

Council considered an agenda item which set out that the Community Governance and Electoral Issues Committee was currently undertaking a community governance review and would be making final decisions on a number of matters at its meeting on 8 September 2022. The committee could agree changes to parish boundaries which could impact on district ward and county division boundaries. To make district ward and county divisions coterminous with any parish changes, Council considered a proposal to authorise the head of legal and democratic to request the Local Government Boundary Commission for England to make related alteration orders to alter both the district wards and county division boundaries where necessary.

 

RESOLVED: to authorise the head of legal and democratic to request the Local Government Boundary Commission for England to make related alteration orders to change district wards and county divisions to reflect the changes made to the parish boundaries arising from the current community governance review.

 

21.

Report of the leader of the council

To receive the report of Councillor David Rouane, Leader of the council.

Minutes:

Councillor Rouane, Leader of the council, provided an update on a number of issues. The text of his address is available on the council’s website.

 

 

22.

Questions on notice pdf icon PDF 280 KB

To receive questions from councillors in accordance with Council procedure rule 33. 

 

A.    Question from Councillor Mocky Khan to Councillor Sue Cooper, Cabinet member for Environment, Climate Change and Nature Recovery

 

It seems that all other towns within South Oxfordshire are getting Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points except Didcot. Can the Cabinet member for Environment, Climate Change and Nature Recovery explain the criteria for selection and why Didcot was excluded?

 

B.    Question from Councillor David Bartholomew to Councillor Andrea Powell, Cabinet member for Corporate Services, Policy and Programmes 

 

At the Full Council meeting in May you announced there will be six FTE officers in the core climate action team.

 

What is the annual cost of this to the council and what exactly are these officers going to do?

 

Minutes:

A.    Question from Councillor Khan to Councillor Cooper, Cabinet member for Environment, Climate Change and Nature Recovery

 

It seems that all other towns within South Oxfordshire are getting Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points except Didcot. Can the Cabinet member for Environment, Climate Change and Nature Recovery explain the criteria for selection and why Didcot was excluded?

 

Written Response

 

Thank you for the question, and I am sure that you are as pleased as I am to be seeing the Council deliver on its climate commitments through such projects as the one identified.

 

You are correct to note that a number of electric vehicle charging points have been delivered across car parks in South Oxfordshire, and elsewhere in the County.  Park and Charge was an externally-funded pilot project with a set budget to test whether this kind of provision is effective and was delivered in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council and an organisation called EZ Charge.

 

There were a number of criteria in the selection of sites set by the pilot including identifying areas where there are larger numbers of residents without off-street parking within a five-minute walk. Other criteria set by the project included the electricity network connection available, the size of the local population and level of car ownership.

 

Whilst the car parks in Didcot did not meet the threshold for the Park and Charge pilot, it does not mean that our other car parks will not have an opportunity to install charging infrastructure in the future as EV ownership continues to increase and should further funding opportunities arise.

 

Officers are currently in the process of seeking funding through the governments local electric vehicle infrastructure (LEVI) pilot funding and the Edinburgh Drive car park in Didcot has been identified as one potential option through that scheme, should a bid be successful.

 

Supplementary question and answer

 

As his supplementary question, Councillor Khan asked the Cabinet member to confirm that Didcot will be top of the priority list in the next round of funding and that Didcot will get EV charging points.

 

In response, Councillor Cooper referred to another source of funding for EV charging points on public land. Each parish and town council had been invited to put forward sites for consideration. These would be assessed against the number of residents in the area with off street parking.

 

  1. Question from Councillor David Bartholomew to Councillor Andrea Powell, Cabinet member for Corporate Services, Policy and Programmes 

 

At the Full Council meeting in May you announced there will be six FTE officers in the core climate action team.

 

What is the annual cost of this to the council and what exactly are these officers going to do?

 

Written Response

 

Thank you, Cllr Bartholomew, for your question. The most recent South Oxfordshire District Council budget has created a provision for an additional three officers in our joint Climate and Biodiversity team for one year, creating a total provision of up to six officers, although as the matters covered by these roles are a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

23.

Motions on notice

To consider motions from councillors in accordance with Council procedure rule 38. 

 

 

A.      Motion to be proposed by Councillor Anne-Marie Simpson, seconded by Councillor Alexandrine Kantor

 

Good food is vital to us all and food production and farming is an important economic and employment sector in our district, with agriculture at the heart of many of our communities.

 

However, the rising costs of fuel and other supplies is creating increased pressure on farmers across the district, whilst government policies on international trade deals threaten to undermine UK food quality standards and risk putting farmers out of business – as well as exacerbating food insecurity in the UK. At the same time, significant increases in the cost of living are putting pressure on residents across South Oxfordshire, forcing them to make difficult choices regarding their household budgets, including the amount spent on food and heating.

 

The district council has a number of ways and opportunities that can help influence food production, support sustainable farming and distribution, reduce food waste, and promote healthy eating for the benefit of our residents and the environment, whilst supporting action to address climate change and building on the council’s corporate plan objectives.

 

Council therefore resolves:

1.    To promote local food production and distribution and a sustainable food culture in South Oxfordshire by maximising opportunities to highlight the importance of food and farming in our local economy through our website, communications the press and social media

2.    To recognise that the initial cause of food poverty is not agricultural but economic/socio-economic due to high cost of living and to work with local partners such as Good Food Oxfordshire to promote and encourage food planning

3.    To encourage farming communities and agricultural businesses to respond to any consultation on our new Joint Local Plan and Oxfordshire Plan 2050 and to engage more generally with the council.

4.    To encourage developers to include community gardens and allotment provision within all new housing developments.

5.    To encourage and promote high environmental health standards at all stages of food production, distribution and redistribution, and continue to support local businesses, local farmers’ markets and ‘farm-door’ sales, recognising their positive impact on reducing the carbon emissions associated with food miles.

6.    To continue to investigate ways we can support food redistribution organisations and food charities to address food poverty in the district, noting the work that has already been done in this regard.

7.    To continue to promote ways we can reduce food waste through our waste service and the use of food recycling bins and promotion of the circular economy (reduce, re-use and recycle), highlighting the climate benefits this can bring through initiatives such as Food Waste Action Week.

8.    To minimise food waste at any event that we may host that serves food, and to use such occasions to highlight the use of waste food, low carbon options, and locally sourced produce wherever possible.

 

B.    Motion to be proposed by Councillor David Rouane, seconded by Councillor Robin Bennett:

 

Council notes that:  ...  view the full agenda text for item 23.

Minutes:

 

Council considered the motions set out in the agenda.

 

A.    In the absence of Councillor Simpson, who was attending the meeting remotely, Councillor Pieter-Paul Barker moved, and Councillor Alexandrine Kantor seconded, the motion as set out in the agenda at agenda item 14A

 

After debate and on being put to the vote the motion was agreed.

 

RESOLVED:

That good food is vital to us all and food production and farming is an important economic and employment sector in our district, with agriculture at the heart of many of our communities.

 

However, the rising costs of fuel and other supplies is creating increased pressure on farmers across the district, whilst government policies on international trade deals threaten to undermine UK food quality standards and risk putting farmers out of business – as well as exacerbating food insecurity in the UK. At the same time, significant increases in the cost of living are putting pressure on residents across South Oxfordshire, forcing them to make difficult choices regarding their household budgets, including the amount spent on food and heating.

 

The district council has a number of ways and opportunities that can help influence food production, support sustainable farming and distribution, reduce food waste, and promote healthy eating for the benefit of our residents and the environment, whilst supporting action to address climate change and building on the council’s corporate plan objectives.

 

Council therefore resolves:

1.    To promote local food production and distribution and a sustainable food culture in South Oxfordshire by maximising opportunities to highlight the importance of food and farming in our local economy through our website, communications the press and social media

2.    To recognise that the initial cause of food poverty is not agricultural but economic/socio-economic due to high cost of living and to work with local partners such as Good Food Oxfordshire to promote and encourage food planning

3.    To encourage farming communities and agricultural businesses to respond to any consultation on our new Joint Local Plan and Oxfordshire Plan 2050 and to engage more generally with the council.

4.    To encourage developers to include community gardens and allotment provision within all new housing developments.

5.    To encourage and promote high environmental health standards at all stages of food production, distribution and redistribution, and continue to support local businesses, local farmers’ markets and ‘farm-door’ sales, recognising their positive impact on reducing the carbon emissions associated with food miles.

6.    To continue to investigate ways we can support food redistribution organisations and food charities to address food poverty in the district, noting the work that has already been done in this regard.

7.    To continue to promote ways we can reduce food waste through our waste service and the use of food recycling bins and promotion of the circular economy (reduce, re-use and recycle), highlighting the climate benefits this can bring through initiatives such as Food Waste Action Week.

8.    To minimise food waste at any event that we may host that serves food, and to use such occasions to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.

24.

Exclusion of the public

To consider whether to exclude members of the press and public from the meeting for the following item of business under Part 1 of Schedule 12A Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 and as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006 on the grounds that:

(i)         it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, and

(ii)        the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. 

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

To exclude members of the press and public from the meeting for the following item of business under Section 100A and 100I of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that:

(i)             It is likely that there will be disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A, and

(ii)            the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

25.

Application for grant funding - Thame and District Housing Association

Cabinet, at its meeting on 23 June 2022, considered the confidential report of the deputy chief executive – place on the provision of grant funding using commuted sums held by the council, towards an affordable housing project being delivered by Thame and District Housing Association (TDHA), who are registered with the Regulator of Social Housing as a Registered Provider of affordable housing.

The recommendations of Cabinet were circulated to all councillors on 24 June 2022.

 

Minutes:

Council considered and agreed Cabinet’s recommendation, made at its meeting on 23 June 2023, on the provision of grant funding using commuted sums held by the council, towards an affordable housing project.